(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed in principle in 2010 to give back the Golan Heights to Syria, the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported.
The daily quotes unnamed American sources as saying that in 2010 “Netanyahu agreed to a full withdrawal from the Golan, to the shores of Lake Kinneret, in exchange for a peace agreement with Syria.” The initiative reportedly collapsed amid the outbreak of Syria’s civil war.
In response to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office said the talk of withdrawal was “an American initiative, one of many discussed with Israel, which was not adopted at any stage," the newspaper said.
According to the account in Yediot, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, was supportive of the initiative. The Israelis “expected” a deal would mean the severing of ties between Iran and Syria, though this was not stated as an explicit demand, the report said.
The Americans quoted in the report said the talks about the proposed deal were at an advanced stage and that the American side was “surprised by the willingness shown by Netanyahu, who offered the Syrians more than his predecessors.”